War of words wanes as U.S. lauds Kim, Pyongyang readies nuclear weapons
What could be more unnerving than heads of ostensible democracies who think they know better than the people what’s best for their nations? Well, for one thing, when those same heads of state engage in puffing up of their rooster chests while endlessly misleading the public. Also, when one of those nations is a nuclear superpower and the other seeks to prove itself worthy of mention in nuclear capability conversations.
More specifically, of course, I’m referring to the United States and North Korea. These two had been going at it verbally for months before the dynamic took a strange turn a few days ago. First, Pyongyang issued a terse statement declaring that recent U.S. military movements in the western Pacific had prompted preparation of its conventional and nuclear armaments “to the maximum.” Then came a pronouncement from the White House that, under the right circumstances, the U.S. “would be honored to meet with” Kim Jong-un. Did the United States blink?
At this late hour in the history of saber-rattling diplomacy, even the most casual observer knows not to take much of it at face value. Which brings to mind yet again the questions of why truth and sincerity have been relegated to the backburner and where the entire stove might be located.
Part of the “why” can be found in the curious pathologies of the actors themselves. Narcissistic, they seem to enjoy the false feeling of cleverness that accompanies saying one thing and meaning another. Their self-absorption blinds them (conveniently) to the fact that their constituents are entitled to the truth. Especially because the people are the ones who are meant to make the decisions in a democracy.
As to the “where,” it’s perplexing. It’s almost impossible to imagine politics without the practice, repeated ad nauseam daily, of kicking every can down the road. By “cans,” I mean the real, root issues which, when addressed with careful contemplation and adequate action do actual, lasting good for our nation. If we need to see a list of true American values, I’m glad to offer as a suggestion:
- Brotherhood and sisterhood
- Justice without vengeance
- Arts and sciences
- Equal rights
- Environmental stewardship
- Innovation and enterprise
- Majority rule, minority rights
You might ask where “liberty,” “freedom,” and “the pursuit of happiness” are. Well, it’s true, those are fine concepts with much value, especially as starting points for discussion on what each means to different citizens. But these terms have been co-opted by inflexible factions in American politics. Also, they are so broad and so old that their application to daily life has become murky and muddled. There’s nothing to fear in exploring more specific, time-tested values which describe our democracy.
My upcoming novel, ULTIMATE ERROR, is about the citizen’s role in supervising the actions of the government. No one ever said being a constituent in a democracy was a “hands-off” responsibility, but it’s what corporate interests and kleptocrats count on.